Richard Anuszkiewicz


Richard Anuszkiewicz (born May 23, 1930, Erie, Pennsylvania) is an American artist. (His last name is pronounced: "Aah-Nuss-Kay-Vitch" with the accent on the third syllable.)

Life and work

Richard Anuszkiewicz trained at the Cleveland Institute of Art in Cleveland, Ohio (1948 – 1953), and then with Josef Albers at the Yale University School of Art and Architecture in New Haven, Connecticut (1953 – 1955) where he earned his Masters of Fine Arts.

He was one of the founders and foremost exponents of Op Art, a movement during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Victor Vasarely in France and Bridget Riley in England were his primary international counterparts. In 1964, Life magazine called him "The New Wizard of Op. More recently, while reflecting on a New York City gallery show of Anuszkiewicz's from 2000, the New York Times art critic Holland Cotter described Anuszkiewicz's paintings by stating, "The drama -- and that feels like the right word -- is in the subtle chemistry of complementary colors, which makes the geometry glow as if light were leaking out from behind it." Anuszkiewicz has exhibited at the Venice Biennale, Florence Biennale and Documenta, and his works are in permanent collections internationally.


Considered a major force in the Op Art movement, Anuszkiewicz is concerned with the optical changes that occur when different high-intensity colors are applied to the same geometric configurations. Most of his work comprises visual investigations of formal structural and color effects, many of them nested square forms similar to the work of his mentor Josef Albers. In his series, "Homage to the Square," Albers experimented with juxtapositions of color, and Anuszkiewicz developed these concepts further. Anuszkiewicz has continued to produce works in the Op Art style over the last few decades. A catalogue raisonné of Anuszkiewicz's paintings is currently being drafted under the auspices of the contemporary art critic John Spike and will be published in 2008.

Anuszkiewicz summarizes his approach to painting as follows: "My work is of an experimental nature and has centered on an investigation into the effects of complementary colors of full intensity when juxtaposed and the optical changes that occur as a result, and a study of the dynamic effect of the whole under changing conditions of light, and the effect of light on color." (from a statement by the artist for the exhibition "Americans 1963" at the Museum of the Modern Art)

Selected Museums Holding Works

Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo

Art Institute of Chicago

Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas

Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art

Cleveland Museum of Art

Columbus Museum of Art

Denver Museum of Art

Detroit Institute of Arts

Flint Institute of Arts

Fogg Museum of Art, Harvard University

Guggenheim Museum, New York

Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville

Museum of Modern Art, New York

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford

Whitney Museum of Art, New York

Grants and Awards

1953 Pulitzer Traveling Fellowship

1963 Charles of the Ritz Oil Painting Award

1964 The Silvermine Guild Award for Oil Painting

1977 Cleveland Arts Prize

1980 Hassam Fund Purchase Award

1988 Hassam Fund Purchase Award

1994 New York State Art Teachers' Association Award

1995 Emil and Dines Carlson Award

1996 New Jersey Pride Award

1997 Richard Florsheim Fund Grant

2000 Lee Krasner Award

2005 Lorenzo di Medici Medal, awarded at the Florence Biennale

Notes and references

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